The more I think about barbecue, the more I start thinking that it’s one of our most important road food traditions.  The reason that it remains vital, besides the fact it’s good, is that it cannot be tamed.  It can’t be gotten out of a can; it can’t be frozen ahead.  BBQ doesn’t negotiate, and it suffers fools badly.  Barbecue requires time, smoke, and above all, skill.  Which is why attempts to corporatize it ultimately fail.

— Alton Brown

Feasting on Asphalt, Episode 2 - I Smell Pork

Smoke is mysterious

Smoke is mysterious, fire is uncertain, and pit men are expensive. So the mystery, uncertainty, and expense of taking the chance to make great barbecue is being replaced by the quantifiable methods of always making pretty good 'cue.

— Jim Shahin

Austin Chronicle